Day and night time thermal mapping of Delhi has been done with MODIS satellite data for the months of November and December for years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The study reveals the formation of day time "cool island" over central parts of Delhi which are found to be cooler by a maximum of 4-6°C than the surrounding rural areas. During the night time, however, the central parts of Delhi are found to be warmer by a maximum of 4-7°C or even more than the surrounding rural areas thus confirming the formation of nocturnal urban heat island over Delhi. Measurements of solar spectral irradiance over Delhi reveal significantly lower values as compared to a rural site located south-west of Delhi, during the low wind conditions in the months of November and December. Analysis of average monthly temporal data of surface wind speed and particulate matter concentration over Delhi reveals a strong anti-correlation between wind speed and particulate matter concentration. High values of particulate matter during low wind conditions seem to favor the so called "cool island" over Delhi. Analysis of radiosonde data of 975. hPa and 850. hPa temperatures over Delhi during November and December from 1973 to 2010 reveals a warming trend at the 850. hPa level and an overall declining trend of δT between 975. hPa temperatures and 850. hPa temperatures, thus indicating a weakening of vertical thermal gradients over Delhi during these months. The study suggests that urban areas behave more like moderators of diurnal temperature variation in low wind conditions. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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